- January 15 - The following was
released today by Friends of the Earth:
January 11, 2001
The Honorable Jeff Bingaman
Chairman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Bingaman:
On behalf of the thousands of members of Friends of the Earth,
I would like to formally express this organization's opposition to
the nomination of former Senator Spencer Abraham as Secretary of
the United States Department of Energy (DOE). As a United States
Senator for the state of Michigan, Spencer Abraham has a record of
defending polluting, resource extractive energy sources over
Growing bodies of evidence demonstrating the impacts of global
warming and current energy crises throughout the country emphasize
the importance of sound energy conservation strategies. The U.S.
is at a crossroads in terms of its national energy policy: will
there be a substantial move towards sustainable and renewable
energy sources, or will we continue to rely on fossil fuels at the
expense of our air, water, and natural resources? In light of his
record, Senator Abraham's nomination would be a step in the wrong
Senator Abraham's abysmal record on energy issues includes:
-- Voting to block consideration of an amendment that would have
increased spending on the DOE's Solar and Renewable Energy program
by $62 million, bringing it within range of the Administration's
FY00 budget request (Roll Call Vote No. 171, June 16, 1999).
This policy stance is in direct conflict with President-elect
Bush's own Comprehensive National Energy Policy, which states that
Bush "understands the promise of renewable energy and believes
strongly in encouraging alternative fuel sources such as wind,
biomass, and solar."
-- Voting against a resolution calling for an end to the freeze
on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards (Roll Call Vote
No. 275, September 15, 1999). Currently, emissions from U.S. cars
and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) contribute 20 percent of U.S.
global warming pollution in the form of carbon dioxide. Improving
the vehicle mileage per gallon of cars and SUVs by raising CAFE
standards would reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned, saving
gas and preventing further pollution.
-- Consistently siding with the oil industry and voting to open
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to oil
drilling (most recently: Roll Call Vote No. 058, April 6, 2000).
ANWR is a 19 million-acre wildlife refuge of unequaled beauty and
importance to the arctic and subarctic ecosystems of that region.
It is home to hundreds of animal species and million of migratory
birds. It serves as a polar bear denning habitat and is the
primary calving grounds for the Porcupine caribou herd, long a
cultural treasure for the native Gwich'in people of Alaska and
Canada. To allow oil drilling in this area when alternative fuel
sources exist would be to senselessly destroy one of our nation's
priceless natural treasures.
-- Protecting the mining industry from efforts to enact
environmental safeguards and bonding requirements for hardrock
mines on public lands (most recently: Roll Call Vote No. 224, July
20, 2000). In addition, Senator Abraham voted to legalize
unlimited mine waste dumping on public lands by eliminating the
"millsite claim" provision from the Mining Law of 1872 (Roll Call
Vote No. 223 July 27, 1999).
-- Defending the coal industry by supporting efforts to exempt
hardrock mining operations from the Clean Water Act and the Surface
Mining Control and Reclamation Act (Roll Call Vote No. 370,
November 18, 1999).
-- One of three cosponsors of a bill to abolish the Department
of Energy (see: S. 896, the Department of Energy Abolishment Act in
the 106th Congress).
Given Senator Abraham's position on renewable energy and his
unfettered defense of resource extractive industries, ratifying his
nomination as Secretary of United States Department of Energy would
be a grave mistake for the direction of our nation's energy policy.
Friends of the Earth therefore urges you to oppose his nomination.
Friends of the Earth
For more information, go to http://www.presidentbushwatch.org